One thing that astonished me recently is a keyboard. Yes, a keyboard for typing that I have been using everyday.
Keyboard and mouse are spoon and fork that some programmers spend a big time finding them. Unluckily, in Thailand, there are not so many choices. Regardless to the low-level brand, we have some models from Logitech, Microsoft, Keshington that are widely found. Only a few places sell the high-end device. For example, gaming keyboard and mouse can be found only in a few shops at the center-of-city-heart department stores.
After I joined Oozou, one thing that catches my ears is the clicking sound I heard from one of Oozou member. The clicky sound comes from the keyboard he's using with his light-speed typing. When I saw his keyboard, I was surprised because his keyboard is all black without any labels (and after asking, I was also surprised that he uses DVORAK keyboard layout). That keyboard is DAS Keyboard Model S Ultimate. It is ashame to say, but this is the first time I heard the word 'mechanical keyboard'.
Recalling myself a decade ago, I was using a high-rubber dome keyboard on PC. When the laptop was in my hands, I found that I prefer its keyboard (low rubber dome) to the PC's. The laptop keyboard is flat and I found it is easier to type compared to the high rubber dome one. After that, I buy only a low rubber dome keyboard which the latest one I have is a keyboard from Keshington.
Fall in love with mechanical keyboard after trying, I searched for more infomation on the internet. Unluckily, there are only a few choices for mechanical keyboard sold in Thailand (only Razor, Corsair, and SteelSeries are available). Two Oozou members who are using DAS said they ordered the keyboard from the internet and had to pay for import tax. As a result, the price of mechanical keyboard is very high (around 5K baht). As I am a developer who always code, having a good and lovable keyboard helps me enjoy coding more. Therefore, I made a decision to buy it.
Mechanical keyboard, different from rubber-dome keyboard, uses separate switches that work independently from each other. As a result, it can handle the 6-key-pressed at the same time (and also all key pressed -- a.k.a N-keys rollover if PS/2 port is used). One of the famous switch that is used in mechanical keyboard is Cherry MX Switch. This switch properties are distinguished by its color. More information on each color's characteristic can be found here. Personally, I like cherry mx blue as it has a clicky sound with a good feedback that makes me enjoy while I am typing.
The keyboard models I considered to buy are DAS, WASD, Razor black widow, Coolermaster Cmstorm Quick Fire Rapid, and Filco Tenkeyless. For DAS, I want the ultimate model which has no label, but $129 is quite high for me. WASD, looks very great, I can customize the key cap color, but the price is also high too (including shipping, it is around 140-150$), For Razor, it looks ok, and I can find it in Thailand, but I do not like the extra buttons it provides. Its price is good (79$) though. Filco, is very awesome, yet is the most expensive one (140$ excluded shipping). So, I decided to select Cmstorm Qucik Fire Rapid over others as its price is the cheapest (74$) and it gets many good reviews.
After seeking the place to buy, I ended up at linkecomputer, an online store located in Hongkong. There are other online shops around the world as well, but not so many of them deliver to Thailand. Also, I want to find asia store as the shipping cost should be cheaper. The price called on linkecomputer for Cmstorm Rapid Fire is 557.95$HK + 191$HK for shipping. My order was put in a back ordered for two more weeks. I ordered it on 18 May, and got it on 18 June. Totally a month of waiting. One mistake I made is to order as guest which makes me not able to track its status by myself (must mail to customer service to ask). Linkecomputer provides a good service; quick mail responding and they also help me declaring my keyboard as gift with 20$ cost (this is to avoid a nonsense tax). F, my friend, also interested in mechanical keyboard. He ordered one too, but his choice is Filco brown switch. His ordered is made at hksuntec which is another Hongkong-based online store. It costs him around 5k baht including shipment.
CoolerMaster Cmstorm Qucik Fire Rapid
I was waiting for this keyboard for a month and finally it arrived. This is Cmstorm Quick Fire Rapid box. This keyboard is made from Cherry mx Blue switch. Within the box are the keyboard, four red color key caps for wasd keys, two black color key caps for ctrls key, a key puller and a manual.
Cmstorm Quick Fire Rapid is a tenkeyless keyboard. As I always use laptop, the numpad is nothing for me. So, tenkeyless is a very best choice as it requires less space and weight. The build quality of this keyboard is superb. Even it is made from plastic, it gives a very firm touching. The key caps are also good. The plastic used for the key cap is not the easy-to-be-shine type, so there is no worry about its oily look. One problem I found with this keyboard at first is that it is a window layout which the ctrl/alt keys are in the opposite order compared to Mac's cmd/alt key. Anyway, I can swap the key in Mac's preference and then swap the keycap to make it work. Another great thing is the usb cable. It is removable and can set the cable direction easilty as there are cable paths at the bottom of the keyboard. Using the key puller to pull the key cap, there is the Cherry MX Blue switch underneath. There is no light indicating the lock status on top right direction as normal keyboard. Instead the key lock status is displayed by red LED light under each lock button which is great!. The very last problem I found is the backspace key that is not as smooth as other key, but that's not a big deal.
So far, I am very happy with Cmstorm Quick Fire Rapid. It worth 3.2k baht money. It makes me want to code more. The click sound when I type is very charm! If one want to buy a machanical keyboard, this will be the choice I would recommend!
Filco Majestouch Ninja Tenkeyless (Brown Switch)
Filco is considered to be one of the greatest mechanical keyboard and I am good luck enough to be able to try it. Thank you F who ordered it and used my address for shipment ;P.
No wonder, I was touched by its beauty as soon as I opened the box. Ninja series is different from other models as the key label is printed not on a top of key cap, but in front of it. Therefore, it is a solid black keyboard when look from above. This gives a feeling as if it was an unlabled keyboard. I like how it looks very much. Anyway, I would throw the window button away... why it is the only key that was labled at top??
Same as Cmstorm Quick Fire Rapid, the build quality of Filco is awesome and firmly-looked. As this model uses Cherry MX Brown switch, it does not give a clicky sound like how Blue switch does. Compared to Blue switch, not only the sound is different, the feedback of the keyboard is softer. To give a metaphore, blue switch is like you are sitting on the wood chair, while brown switch is like you are sitting on the sofa. It's a personal preference which you should try yourself to decide which one is better. The cable of the keyboard is fixed. The key lock lights are on the top right. This keyboard also a window layout keyboard. Compared to Cmstorm, they share almost the same width, but Filco is thicker.
Mechanical keyboard may seem to be expensive, but once you try it, you will feel the joyment of typing which you can not find in a normal-rubber-dome keyboard. Even people mostly know this kind of keyboard as a gaming keyboard, its used is, in fact, not limited solely for gaming. It is best for typist (us, programmer) too. If you liked coding, I would strongly recommend you to invest buying one. No matter how much budget you have, Cmstorm Quick Fire Rapid is the best choice due to its worthness compared to the price you have to pay. Cherry MX Blue switch is great and suit for typing, but deciding which color is the best is in the eyes of its beholder. To order it, it is better to find the online shop in asia and do not forget to ask them to declare your keyboard as gift to avoid Thai's nonsense tax.
With mechanical keyboard, you will feel coding (or typing) is another extremely enjoyable activity ;) believe me!